October 31, 2017 / 8:51 PM / a year ago

U.S. gasoline demand hits record high in August: EIA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. gasoline demand hit a record in August, delivering a strong end to the summer driving season, according to data released on Tuesday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Gasoline trucks arrive to refill their tankers at a gasoline distribution terminal in San Diego, California January 7, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake

U.S. gasoline demand rose by a modest 0.9 percent, or 83,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 9.77 million bpd in August compared to the same month last year, the data showed. The level was the highest on record, according to the EIA’s data.

It was the fourth increase in the past five months, EIA data showed.

The strong demand came ahead of much of the historic hurricane activity this year.

Overall, U.S. gasoline demand January through August was relatively flat compared with the same stretch last year, largely due to a poor first quarter, but it could decline in the months ahead as data is released that takes into account the demand decline from the series of hurricanes that hit the United States.

U.S. gasoline demand, which accounts for 10 percent of global consumption and hit a record high last year, has risen each year since 2012.

U.S. crude oil output fell slightly in the month to 9.20 million bpd in August from 9.23 million in July, according to the data. Production has been in a range of 9.07 million bpd to 9.23 million bpd since February, according to the data.

U.S. distillate demand remained strong, rising 2.9 percent year-on-year to 3.99 million bpd in August, the data showed.

Total oil demand was down 0.6 percent year-on-year, or 114,000 bpd, to 20.16 million bpd in August, the data showed.

Motor travel data suggests strong driving numbers, but experts have said greater fuel efficiency has taken hold and helped tamp down gasoline demand.

U.S. motorists logged 0.8 percent more miles on the road in July than they did in the year-ago month, keeping 2017 on pace to break last year’s record of total miles driven, according to U.S. Department of Transportation data.

Motorists drove 1.5 percent more miles on U.S. roads through July than in the same period last year, the data shows. August numbers will be released later this month.

Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Additional reporting by Jessica Resnick-Ault; Editing by Peter Cooney and Chris Reese

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